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Zanimljivosti ZP Izdvojeno




Paul Birnbaum je bubnjar kultnog hardcore punk sastava Septic Death. Za SolinLive govori o sebi, o bendu, kao i o brojnim suradnjama

First, could you introduce yourself and say something about yourself to our readers?

Hello. I’m Paul Birnbaum. Best known as the drummer for Septic Death. I’ve played music in bands my whole life. I enjoy the beach/surfing, CrossFit, Buddhism/Mindfulness, and I’m a vegan.

As far as I have noticed, you have been involved in music for quite a long time, so I would like to ask you to tell me something about your beginnings.

I started playing music at 6 years old when I started taking piano lessons. That only lasted about a year… At age 9 I started playing drums in the school band. My family moved from Southern California to Boise, Idaho when I was 11 years old (1979). There I met other California transplants and got way more into skateboarding and punk rock

In 1981 together with Brian Schroeder (AKA Pushead), Jon Taylor, and Mike Matlock you founded the band Septic Death. How did you meet and start the band?

I first met Mike. I had met another friend named Brad who lived down the street from me and had a skateboard ramp. So, I used to go over there after school and we’d skate. He already knew Mike and Mike would come over sometimes to skate. Shortly after that, Mike built a ス pipe in his backyard and I think that’s where I met Pushead. A little bit after that we heard of another guy who had moved from California and had a ス pipe at his house – so we made friends with him… and that was Jon.
Septic Death started in Spring 1981 – but originally it was Pushead, myself, and a guy named Todd who played guitar. Todd had just moved to Boise from Southern California and claimed to have played guitar in the band Godhead. That really only lasted 1 rehearsal as Todd seemed more interested in playing TSOL covers than fast hardcore. When we met Jon later that summer we found out he played guitar – but he was a metalhead and really didn’t know much about punk rock. But, he agreed to start playing with us… We rehearsed without a bassist for about a year. Then Mike decided he wanted to learn to play bass and join the band. He picked it up really quickly.

Septic Death was associated with Metallica; frontman Pushead designed illustrations for Metallica, while members of Metallica were guests on Septic Death albums. How did you meet the members of Metallica and how did your collaboration come about?

That was really all Pushead’s doing. I’m not sure how he met them – but he invited them to be a part of some of our recording sessions and they agreed. It was a lot of fun. James introduced us for our final live performance at the Skate Rock show at the Farm in SF. Kirk was also there.

I would love to ask about the “famous” drum sound on album Now I Have Your Attention, and do you think that St Anger’s infamous drum sound was inspired by it?

I’ve heard people mention that before. I really don’t know. The drum sound on those recordings were not an intentional decision. I’ve always said it was a combination of inexperience, crummy equipment (drums), and not tuning my drums very well. I probably needed a new snare head, better dampening, and tighter snares.
I just now listened to parts of a few songs from “St Anger” and agree that the snare sounds very similar. But, I don’t know why they would want that trashy snare sound? (haha) I also don’t know how they could have “accidentally” gotten that snare sound with the recourses/recording budget they must have had. So, that snare sound on “St Anger” must be intentional. Whether or not they were inspired by “Now That I Have Your Attention” – I have no idea.

Septic Death is known for its fast and aggressive style, which is why it has often been cited as an influence by many bands. What are your thoughts on Septic Death’s legacy?

I wonder how many bands that have inspired other bands really like the product of their inspiration? Do the original punk bands like the hardcore stuff they gave birth to? Does Black Flag like Bl’ast? Does Minor Threat like Uniform Choice? I’m truly humbled by the knowledge that people liked what we did enough to inspire them to take it a step further… but, i’ve never (knowingly) played a blast beat, or used a double kick drum/peddle, ect. There’s some crust, grindcore, powerviolence that I like – but it’ll never be my “1s choice” of what I want to listen to. My first choice will always be the stuff that inspired us – earlier hardcore and punk.
I think it’s great that people will hear something they like and get creative with it and take it a step further. I think it’s necessary for people to always be creating and pushing the boundaries.

After Septic Death, you played in the bands Attitude, RAID, Gordie Howe Trio Unit, Little Miss, and the No-Names. Could you tell us more about these bands?

Like I mentioned, I’ve played in bands my whole life… Septic Death was the first.
– I also played drums in the Skulldiggers (’84 – Misfits influenced, we released a demo tape, Onj from Septic plays bass),
– bass in LD50 (’84 – hardcore – only live performances, Onj from Septic plays drums),
– bass in The Pugs (’84/85 – punk rock – they released a demo tape prior to me joining the band),
– guitar in Black on Black (’85 – ’70s punk mixed w/ some goth – only live performances),
– guitar/vox in House of Dolls (’86 – Joy Division influenced punk – only rehearsals, Onj from Septic plays bass),
– drums in Attitude (’86-’88 hardcore/metal – I only play on the 1st12″). Attitude was Andy, Chris, and Rick from Attitude Adjustment along with Keith from Condemned to Death. When the band 1st started it was called Condemned Attitude and they had a different drummer. They kicked him out and asked me to play. They were wanting to go more and more metal which wasn’t really my thing – so, I ended up leaving the band.
– guitar/vox in Haggis (early ’90s – punk/hc – i play on the 1st two 7″s),
– drums in Potato Potato (early/mid ’90s – punk released a cassingle and have a song on a Boise comp LP),
– guitar in Humorgod (mid ’90s – melodic punk – they have releases out – but none that I play on),
– guitar/drums/bass/vox in Static (mid ’90s punk/hc – this was a solo project I did – released a few demo tapes),
– guitar in Gordie Howe Trio Unit (aka GH3U) (late ’90s/early ’00s – hardcore – released a demo tape and CD),
– guitar/drums/bass/vox in The Davenports (mid ’00s – punk/punkabilly – this is another solo project I did – released a demo tape),
– guitar in Little Miss and the No-Names (aka LMNN) (late ’00s – punk/hc – released a demo tape and a couple 7″s, Onj from Septic plays bass),
– drums in Raid (late ’00s/mid ’10s – hardcore – released a split 7″ w/ Hummingbird of Death, and a split LP w/ Dirty Protest, Onj plays guitar),
– guitar/bass in Dirty Protest (2010’s – hardcore/crust – released a split LP w/ Raid). I started playing 2nd guitar. Then, right before a tour our drummer broke his wrist… so, he moved to 2nd vocals (2 singers – a guy and a girl – sounded great!) and the bassist moved to drums, and I moved to bass.The other guitarist, Steve was the singer on the 1st HDQ LP, and also played guitar in the Spittin’ Vicars. He’s a transplant from the UK.

You played drums in Andy Anderson’s Tribe with Bones from Discharge/Broken Bones. How did that come about and was it a trip to be playing with him?

Discharge was a huge influence on almost everyone in hardcore back from 1980 to 1983. Pushead had the logo hand drawn on his jeans.
Actually, I didn’t play on that. Baz from Broken Bones plays drums on that. I would have loved to play with Bones! I loved early Discharge. Septic Death used to do a cover of ‘Never Again’ – but we never played it outside of rehearsals.

From what I understand, you’ve moved around quite a lot, moving to San Francisco, from Boise, living in Europe and now you’re in Florida I think? Any favorite places to live and reasons for moving around?

I moved to SF in ’86. That’s when Septic played its last live show and then we did some recording over the next couple of years. I moved back to Boise around ’91.
I never lived in Europe. I was friends with Dennis Crustbus from Radio Bikini and I was wanting to travel to Europe to go to the HUGE record fair in Utrecht, Netherlands. I asked if I could stay with him and if there was a chance he could take time off work and be my ‘tour guide’. He had the brilliant idea of forming a band where all the other members live there (in the Netherlands) and I still live in the US and we could play shows/tour when I come over to go to the record fair 2x per year. So, they all lived in Eindhoven, Netherlands and I would come over twice per year and we would tour and I could see parts of Europe.
Yes, I now live in Florida. I had to get away from cold winters/snow.
Living in SF in the mid/late ’80s (before the .com boom) was great. There were shows happening at the Farm, the On Broadway, Mabuhay Gardens, The Stone, Ruthies, up and down Haight Street, in the South of Market area, and Gilman St was just opening up.

Besides music, is there anything else you do besides music?

I’ve always skateboarded. I now live a couple block from the beach – so, I’m there quite a bit surfing, boogie boarding, body surfing, paddle boarding, skim boarding, and swimming. I also do CrossFit @ 5 days a week and love it.

For the end, what are your future projects? What would you recommend to our readers?

I’m currently playing drums in a punk/surf band. Mostly instrumental at this point and kind of like a really hard edged surf band. No name yet – we’re still in the rehearsal stage.
My recommendation for everyone: don’t forget what it’s like to be young. keep your mind open and celebrate peoples differences, don’t condemn them.


1. Prvo, možete li se predstaviti i reći nešto o sebi našim čitateljima?

Zdravo. Ja sam Paul Birnbaum. Najpoznatiji kao bubnjar grupe Septic Death. Cijeli život sviram u bendovima. Uživam na plaži/surfanju, CrossFitu, budizmu/svjesnosti i vegan sam.

2. Koliko sam primijetio, glazbom se baviš dosta dugo, pa bih te zamolio da mi kažeš nešto o svojim počecima.

Glazbom sam se počeo baviti sa 6 godina kada sam krenuo na satove klavira. To je trajalo samo oko godinu dana… Sa 9 godina sam počeo svirati bubnjeve u školskom bendu. Moja se obitelj preselila iz Južne Kalifornije u Boise, Idaho, kad sam imao 11 godina (1979.). Tamo sam upoznao druge kalifornijske transplantirane osobe i mnogo sam se više zaljubio u skateboarding i punk rock.

3. Godine 1981. zajedno s Brianom Schroederom (AKA Pushead), Jonom Taylorom i Mikeom Matlockom osnovali ste bend Septic Death. Kako ste se upoznali i osnovali bend?

Prvi put sam upoznao Mikea. Upoznao sam još jednog prijatelja po imenu Brad koji je živio niz ulicu od mene i imao je rampu za skateboard. Pa sam odlazio tamo poslije škole i klizali smo. Već je znao da bi Mike i Mike ponekad dolazili na klizanje. Ubrzo nakon toga, Mike je napravio ½ cijevi u svom dvorištu i mislim da sam tamo upoznao Pusheada. Malo nakon toga čuli smo za još jednog tipa koji se preselio iz Kalifornije i imao ½ lulu u svojoj kući – pa smo se sprijateljili s njim… a to je bio Jon.
Septic Death je započeo u proljeće 1981. – ali izvorno smo gitaru svirali Pushead, ja i tip po imenu Todd. Todd se upravo preselio u

Boise iz Južne Kalifornije i tvrdio je da je svirao gitaru u bendu Godhead. To je stvarno trajalo samo 1 probu jer se činilo da je Todd više zainteresiran za sviranje TSOL obrada nego za brzi hardcore. Kad smo kasnije tog ljeta upoznali Jona, saznali smo da je svirao gitaru – ali bio je metalac i nije znao puno o punk rocku. Ali, pristao je početi svirati s nama… Vježbali smo bez basiste oko godinu dana. Tada je Mike odlučio da želi naučiti svirati bas i pridružiti se bendu. Jako ga je brzo pokupio.

4. Septic Death je povezan s Metallicom; Frontmen Pushead dizajnirao je ilustracije za Metallicu, dok su članovi Metallice gostovali na albumima Septic Deatha. Kako ste upoznali članove Metallice i kako je došlo do suradnje?

To je zapravo bilo sve Pusheadova zamisao. Nisam siguran kako ih je upoznao – ali pozvao ih je da budu dio na nekim našim snimanja i oni su pristali. Bilo je jako zabavno. James (James Hetfield, frontmen Metallice, op.prev.) nas je predstavio za naš posljednji nastup uživo na Skate Rock showu na Farmi u SF-u. Kirk (Kirk Hammett, gitarist Metallice, op.prev.) je također bio tamo.

5. Volio bih pitati o “poznatom” zvuku bubnja na albumu Now I Have Your Attention, i mislite li da je ozloglašeni zvuk bubnja St Angera inspiriran njime?

Već sam čuo da ljudi to spominju. Stvarno ne znam. Zvuk bubnja na tim snimkama nije bio namjerna odluka. Uvijek sam govorio da je to kombinacija neiskustva, loše opreme (bubnjeva) i lošeg ugađanja bubnjeva. Vjerojatno mi je trebala nova snare head, bolji dampening i čvršći snareovi (dijelovi bubnjarskog seta, op.prev.).

Upravo sam sada poslušao dijelove nekoliko pjesama sa “St Anger” i slažem se da snare (dio bubnjarskog seta, op.prev.) zvuči vrlo slično. Ali, ne znam zašto bi htjeli taj trash snare zvuk? (haha) Također ne znam kako su mogli “slučajno” dobiti taj snare zvuk s resursima/proračunom za snimanje koji su morali imati. Dakle, taj zvuk zamke na “St Anger” mora biti namjeran. Jesu li bili inspirirani “Now That I Have Your Attention” ili ne – nemam pojma.

6. Septic Death je poznat po svom brzom i agresivnom stilu, zbog čega se često navodi kao utjecaj na mnoge bendove. Što mislite o naslijeđu Septic Deatha?

Pitam se koliko bendova koji su inspirirali druge bendove stvarno voli proizvod svoje inspiracije? Vole li originalni punk bendovi hardcore stvari koje su iznjedrili? Da li Black Flag voli Bl’ast? Da li Minor Threat voli Uniform Choice? Uistinu sam ponizan spoznajom da se ljudima svidjelo ono što smo napravili dovoljno da ih potakne da naprave korak dalje… ali nikad nisam (svjesno) svirao blast beat, ili koristio dupli bubanj/peddle, itd. Ima crusta, grindcorea, powerviolencea (podžanrovi punk rocka ,op.prev.) koje volim – ali to nikad neće biti moj “prvi izbor” onoga što želim slušati.

Moj prvi izbor će uvijek biti stvari koje su nas inspirirale – raniji hardcore i punk.
Mislim da je sjajno što će ljudi čuti nešto što im se sviđa, postati kreativni s tim i otići korak dalje. Mislim da je potrebno da ljudi uvijek stvaraju i pomiču granice.

7. Nakon Septic Deatha, svirali ste u bendovima Attitude, RAID, Gordie Howe Trio Unit, Little Miss i No-Names. Možete li nam reći nešto više o ovim bendovima?

Kao što sam spomenuo, cijeli život sviram u bendovima… Septic Death je bio prvi.

– Svirao sam i bubnjeve u Skulldiggersima (’84 – Misfits utjecali, izdali smo demo kasetu, Onj iz Septica svira bas),

– bas u LD50 (’84 – hardcore – samo live svirke, Onj iz Septica svira bubnjeve),

– bas u The Pugs (’84/85 – punk rock – objavili su demo kasetu prije nego sam se ja pridružio bendu),

– gitara u Black on Black (punk iz ’85 – ’70-ih miksano s nešto gotha – samo nastupi uživo),

– gitara/vox u House of Dolls (’86 – punk pod utjecajem Joy Divisiona – samo probe, Onj iz Septica svira bas),

– bubnjevi u Attitudeu (’86-’88 hardcore/metal – sviram samo na 1st 12″). Attitude su bili Andy, Chris i Rick iz Attitude Adjustment zajedno s Keithom iz Condemned to Death. Kad je bend 1st započeo zvao se Condemned Attitude i izbacili su ga i zamolili me da sviram sve više i više metala, što baš i nije bilo za mene – pa sam na kraju napustio bend.

– gitara/vox u Haggis (rane 90-e – punk/hc – sviram na 1. dvije 7″),

– bubnjevi u Potato Potato (početak/sredina 90-ih – punk je objavio cassingle i ima pjesmu na LP-u Boise compa),

– gitara u Humorgodu (sredina 90-ih – melodični punk – imaju izdanja – ali nijedno na kojem ja sviram),

– gitara/bubnjevi/bas/vox u Static (punk sredinom 90-ih/hc – ovo je bio solo projekt koji sam radio – objavio nekoliko demo kaseta),

– gitara u Gordie Howe Trio Unit (aka GH3U) (kasne ’90-e/rane ’00-e – hardcore – izdao demo kasetu i CD),

– gitara/bubnjevi/bass/vox u The Davenports (sredina 2000-ih – punk/punkabilly – ovo je još jedan solo projekt koji sam radio – objavio demo vrpcu),

– gitara u Little Miss and the No-Names (aka LMNN) (kasne ’00-e – punk/hc – izdao demo kasetu i par 7″, Onj iz Septica svira bas),

– bubnjevi u Raidu (kasne ’00-e/sredina ’10-ih – hardcore – izdao split 7″ s Hummingbird of Death, i split LP s Dirty Protestom, Onj svira gitaru),

– gitara/bas u Dirty Protestu (2010. – hardcore/crust – izdao split LP s Raidom). Počeo sam svirati drugu gitaru. Zatim, neposredno prije turneje, naš je bubnjar slomio zglob… pa je prešao na drugi vokal (2 pjevača – momak i djevojka – zvučali su sjajno!) i basist je prešao na bubnjeve, a ja na bas. Drugi gitarist, Steve, bio je pjevač na 1. HDQ LP-u, a također je svirao gitaru u Spittin’ Vicars. On se preselio iz UK-a.

8. Svirao si bubnjeve u Andy Andersonovom Tribe s Bones iz Discharge/Broken Bones. Kako je došlo do toga i je li bilo iskustvo svirati s njim?

Discharge je imao veliki utjecaj na gotovo sve u hardcoreu od 1980. do 1983. Pushead je imao rukom nacrtan logo na trapericama.

Zapravo, nisam igrao na to. Na tome bubnjeve svira Baz iz Broken Bonesa. Volio bih svirati s Bonesom! Volio sam rani Otpust. Septic Death su radili obradu ‘Never Again’ – ali nikad je nismo svirali van proba.

9. Koliko sam shvatio, dosta ste se selili, preselili ste se u San Francisco, iz Boisea, živjeli u Europi i sada ste na Floridi, mislim? Imate li omiljena mjesta za život i razloge za kretanje?

Prešao sam u SF ’86. Tada je Septic odsvirao svoju posljednju svirku uživo, a zatim smo nekoliko godina snimali. Vratio sam se u Boise oko ’91.

Nikad nisam živio u Europi. Bio sam prijatelj s Dennisom Crustbusom s Radio Bikinija i želio sam otputovati u Europu na VELIKI sajam ploča u Utrechtu, Nizozemska. Pitao sam mogu li ostati s njim i postoji li mogućnost da uzme slobodno vrijeme s posla i bude moj ‘turistički vodič’. Imao je briljantnu ideju o formiranju benda u kojem svi ostali članovi žive tamo (u Nizozemskoj), a ja još uvijek živim u SAD-u i mogli bismo svirati koncerte/turneju kad dođem na sajam ploča 2 puta godišnje. Dakle, svi su živjeli u Eindhovenu, u Nizozemskoj, a ja bih dolazio dva puta godišnje i išli smo na turneju i mogao sam vidjeti dijelove Europe.

Da, sada živim na Floridi. Morao sam pobjeći od hladnih zima/snijega.

Živjeti u SF-u sredinom/kasnim 80-ih (prije interneta) bilo je sjajno. Bilo je nastupa koje su se održavale na Farmi, na Broadwayu, Mabuhay Gardens, The Stone, Ruthies, gore i dolje u ulici Haight, u području South of Market, a Gilman Street se upravo otvarala.

10. Osim glazbe, bavite li se još nečim osim glazbom?

Uvijek sam vozio skejtbord. Sada živim nekoliko blokova od plaže – tako da tamo prilično malo surfam, boogie boarding, body surfam, paddle boarding, ski boarding i plivam. Također treniram CrossFit pet dana u tjednu i volim to.

11. Za kraj, koji su tvoji budući projekti? Što biste preporučili našim čitateljima?

Trenutno sviram bubnjeve u punk/surf bendu. Uglavnom instrumentalni u ovom trenutku i nešto poput jako oštrog benda za surfanje. Još nema imena – još smo u fazi proba.

Moja preporuka svima: ne zaboravite kako je to biti mlad. držite um otvoren i slavite razlike među ljudima, nemojte ih osuđivati.



Student morskog ribarstva u Splitu, član umjetničke udruge Dadanti gdje obavljam funkciju voditelja glazbenog odjela i glumačke družine Banana Split. Bavim se poezijom, glumom, glazbom, novinarstvom i performansima...